The Co-chair of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC), Metropolitan Bishoy from the Coptic Orthodox Church, has died. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, led tributes from Anglican leaders, saying that he was “saddened” to hear of the death of “a faithful servant of God.” Archbishop Justin added that “it was a privilege to meet him in Cairo and London.” The Anglican Co-chair of AOOIC, the Bishop of St Asaph Gregory Cameron, said: he was “deeply saddened by this news, but thankful to God for faithful discipleship.”
Before his sudden death last night (Tuesday) at the age of 76, Metropolitan Bishoy led the Diocese of Damietta in the north-east Egypt port region of Kafr el-Sheikh; and the Monastery of Saint Demiana of Barrari in Belkas. He had a long history serving the cause of ecumenism; having served as a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in addition to his role as Co-chair of AOOIC. He attended the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops as an ecumenical observer in 1988, 1998, and 2008.
“Metropolitan Bishoy was one of the great ecumenists of the modern era”, the Director for Unity, Faith and Order at the Anglican Communion Office, Canon Dr John Gibaut, said. “Anglicans in particular will remember his contribution as the co-chair of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC) [and] rejoice in the historic agreement reached by the AOOIC on Christology in 2014, as well as the 2017 agreement on the Procession of the Holy Spirit.
“He was a great friend of the Anglican Communion, and [we will] remember him as a wise, courageous and holy monk, theologian, bishop, and friend.”
He expressed sympathy to the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Diocese of Damietta, and the monastic community at St Damiena.
Metropolitan Bishoy of of Damietta, Oriental Orthodox Co-chair of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC), with the Anglican Co-chair, Bishop Gregory Cameron of St Asaph.
Photo: Anglican Communion Office
Another Coptic member of AOOIC, Archbishop Angaelos, the Archbishop of London, said that he was “so saddened to hear of passing of an iconic father of our Coptic Orthodox Church.” Archbishop Angaelos said that he had been with Metropolitan Bishoy two days ago, at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Orthodox Churches and the United Bible Societies at Holy Etchmiadzin, the seat of the Armenian Orthodox Church, describing it as “his last official act of a full ecumenical life.”
He added: “as Christians, we mourn, and are saddened by, the loss of loved ones, while at the same time rejoicing in their life on earth, and their passing to the awaited and anticipated glory.”
- Click here to read a tribute from Archbishop Angaelos.